Manchester United host Newcastle United at Old Trafford in the game being known as the ‘Return of Cristiano Ronaldo’, with CR7 starting from the get-go. And CR7 didn’t take much time to make his impact, scoring twice in an emphatic 4-1 win for the Red Devils – with Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard getting the others.
The Red Devils dominated 70% of the possession in the first half and after a lot of trying, they finally got the goal from the man himself – as Ronaldo tapped one into the goal – pouncing on an error from Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman to make it 1-0 in the 45th minute.
However, Newcastle picked up pace in the second half and capitalized on the Red Devils’ defensive weakness to get the equalizer in the 56th minute – when defender Javi Manquillo burst into the box and thundered a shot into the back of the net.
But minutes later, Mr. Inevitable turned up again – as Ronaldo thundered a shot through the keeper’s legs in the 62nd minute to score his second of the day.
In the 80th minute, his fellow Portuguese Buno Fernandes scored the goal of the day – beautifully curling a shot from 25 yards into the back of the net to seal the deal for Man United.
The Red Devils then added another beautiful goal in the 91st minute when substitute Jesse Lingard tricked a player before slotting the ball into the net – summing up an emphatic win for his side. The win also takes United to the top of the table – a place they’ll hope to stay throughout the season going forward.
Manchester United player ratings vs Newcastle
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (7.5)–
Solskjaer avoided public execution by starting Ronaldo from the get-go, something which (quite predictably) paid off. While Newcastle did frustrate his side with their deep defender, Solskjaer urged his players moved the ball forward quickly and maintained an unpredictable attacking style throughout the game. His subs ended up being spot on too – as Lingard scored a late goal.
The expectations on Solskjaer has just doubled after CR7’s arrival, but he got things spot on today and ensured his side got a big win.
David de Gea (6.5) –
De Gea hasn’t kept a clean sheet at home since February and hopes to fix that today. Makes a sharp save off a deflected shot in the 23rd. Pulls off another great save in the 67th to tip over Joelinton’s powerful shot. Bit unfortunate to concede, but ended up doing his role decently in the end.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7.0) –
Wan-Bissaka has struggled to get proper crosses into the box early on and has to improve upon that. His delivery in the first half was poor and posed little to no danger. Defensively, however, he was very compelling throughout the game and didn’t let Ritchie to do much at all. Needs to improve his attacking work because just the impressive defensive work won’t cut it in the long-term.
Raphael Varane (7.5) –
Albeit being overshadowed, but Varane makes his Old Trafford debut today. Almost scores the opener in the 19th after getting a brilliant flick on from a corner that goes just wide. He was almost flawless up until the goal, where Varane was poached into a challenge allowing Manquillo to go past him to score.
That was basically the only bad thing he did, as Varane was extremely dominant for the majority of the game – winning 8 duels, 5 aerial duels and making 3 clearances – while his positioning and passing were superb too.
Harry Maguire (7.0) –
Maguire makes good use of his massive head to get a header on target in the 32nd, but his attempt goes straight to the keeper. Went too far forward and made an unnecessary challenge to expose his defence – leading to the equalizer.
But apart from that little lapse in concentration, Maguire didn’t really do anything bad. Dominated Joelinton, made 4 clearances and looked sharp in the final third.
Luke Shaw (8.0) –
Shaw has been really good bursting through the left-wing and seems to be forming a nice chemistry with Sancho. His set-piece delivery has also been mostly on point. Got a great assist for Ronaldo’s second, as it was his burst run and through pass which allowed CR7 to score.
Kept things relatively clean down his side and was really impressive in the attack, making some great forward runs and creating 5 goal-scoring chances!
Nemanja Matic (7.5) –
Matic starts instead of Fred and is helping shield his defence better. Playing quite advanced for his role, but his passing has been topsy-turvy. Gained confidence after a nice first-half and attempted a shot from afar in the 54th that skied over. Did his defensive job well and apart from that little sloppy positioning for Newcastle’s goal, he was a compelling figure in the middle – winning 4 duels and recovering the ball 11 times.
Paul Pogba (8.5) –
Pogba looks to be more composed in his midfield pivot role, but his passing accuracy has been great. Kinda unlucky to get booked in the second half for a nothing challenge. Gets an assist for Bruno’s goal – that’s 6 for him this season! Then gets another assist for Lingard’s strike – getting a fancy pass into his path.
PP helped control the game for United, making all the right passes (almost) all the right time. Seems to be enjoying playing deeper now as he created 5 chances and made 23 passes into the final third! Perhaps needs to improve his defensive work a little bit to be a total boss for United going forward.
Bruno Fernandes (8.0)–
Fernandes starts sharply and almost set up an early goal for Ronaldo with a delightful chipped pass. Nearly scored a goal from the halfway line in the 26th but his shot went just over the bar. His shot from just outside the area goes wide in the 30th.
After a lot of trying, finally got his goal late on and what a hit it was – an absolute screamer from a long way out. Bruno proves he’s just as lethal even with Ronaldo in the squad. Created some nice chances, maintained a fast tempo in the attack and scored a fantastic goal.
Jadon Sancho (6.5) –
Sancho also gets his first home start for United and looks much sharper with his link-up play today. Almost got debut goal in the 30th but couldn’t flick on Bruno’s shot into the back of the net. Sancho’s dribbling and forward movement was impressive today, but still needs to improve his final delivery as unable to create a definitive chance today. Subbed after the hour-mark.
Mason Greenwood (7.0) –
Probably unlucky, but Greenwood is back to the right-wing role today. Had a quiet first half but it was his ambitious shot from outside the box that was scuffed by Woodman for Ronaldo’s opener. Get a shot on goal after some nice trickery in the 75th, but his attempt is cleared. Involved in a lot of good stuff in the attack for United and proves he needs to keep on starting – despite not any official assist/goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo (9.0) –
18 years after his first debut for United, Ronaldo makes his second one today. Skits a shot wide from a weird angle in the 9th. Then does a slick step-over to get into the box before hitting the side-netting two minutes later. After a lot of trying, he finally gets his goal – a tap-in from close. SIUUUUUUU afterwards too!
And then gets his second with an impressive run into the box before powering a shot through Woodman’s legs to restore his side’s lead. A really active player in the final third and always looked dangerous, be it with his link-up play or shooting. He means business and will hope to continue this going forward.
Jesse Lingard (7.5) –
Lingard looked lively after replacing Sancho and made a really impactful appearance. Scored late on, but showed impressive skill to get the ball past a defender and then the goalkeeper for his first goal for United since May 2020.
Donny van de Beek (N/R) –
Finally Donny get some minutes in the 4th game of the season. Looked sharp with his passing and played a role in setting up Lingard’s late goal.
Anthony Martial (N/R) –
Martial made some nice off-the-ball runs into the box but unable to do anything that noteworthy.
MAN OF THE MATCH
You just have to give this to Ronaldo. He did exactly what was asked for him and delivered two goals. Hopefully first of many MOTM awards.